Comics I Read in February 2015

I didn’t get as much read this month as last, partly because I was also reading this book. I am a slow reader, especially when it comes to straight text, so that ate into my comics time. But I did get some done.

Ur (Haven, AdHouse) – A collection of oddball and absurd comics by Eric Haven, the standout is the adventures of Bed-Man, a superhero who’s a guy in a bed. Part Michael Kupperberg, part Fletcher Hanks, these are pretty funny stories with appealing art.

Hand-Drying in America (Katchor, Pantheon) – Another reason why my count is low this month is that it includes this. It was in a pile of comics I’d forgotten about and I had only gotten partway through it, so I finished it up. Ben Katchor’s comics are dense and a little overwhelming, and reading through is slow going for me, even though I like his stuff. I’ve gone on at length on how his work appeals to me despite seeming like something I wouldn’t normally like. This one was no exception, and I enjoyed it even as I mentally and physically (it’s a big, heavy book) wrestled with it.

Heroes of the Equinox (Valerian and Laureline book 8) (Mézières/Christin, Cinebook) – Part of my French science-fiction kick I got on was this series, which reprints comics from the late 70s. Valerian and Laureline are typical space opera protagonists, flying about a vast universe and encountering all kinds of weird alien species. Valerian is the cocky, arrogant man and Laureline his smarter, more sensible female partner. Gender politics aren’t really the spotlight here, but it’s a fun ride. This particular issue was kind of lacking, though, as it largely only involves Valerian and the plot isn’t particularly interesting, but I’ve enjoyed the series on the whole.

Study Group Magazine 3D (Various, Study Group)* – This was the first of three kickstarters I backed, got the rewards for, and promptly forgot about. Not a slight on them, just how well organized my brain is. As part of the Study Group KS, I got this magazine with work by Pete Toms, Connor Willumson, Sophie Franz, and others. Also some text pieces I haven’t read yet, including a bunch of articles about Ray Zone’s 3D comics (in 3D). All I previously knew of Study Group was Kazimir Strzepek’s Mourning Star, so I was glad to get the chance to see more from this group, including

Haunter (Alden, Study Group)* – Another book in the Study Group KS, this one was wonderful. A wordless story of a hunter in a ruined future world who comes across a strange building that turns out to be inhabited. It’s quiet and deliberate and as the encounter unfolds the tension mounts on its own without breaking its mood. Gorgeous artwork, too. Haunter will be available in April through Alternative Comics.

Fearless Future, vol 1 (Various, Very GOOD Books)* – This is the second of the forgotten Kickstarters, an anthology of science fiction tales. They weren’t bad, but unfortunately the PDF is not well rendered and a lot of the art and text is low resolution and pixilated, making it hard to read. Not a bad collection, but not really outstanding either.

Strong Female Protagonist, Book One (Mulligan/Ostertag, Top Shelf)* – This is the third of those Kickstarters. Honestly, I’m not sure why I backed it because it’s kind of not my thing. It’s a superhero book of the “but it’s not really about superheroes” variety which nevertheless features a lot of superheroes. I like the initial conceit of it, that the main character was on a superhero team as a kid, but then quit to have a normal life. That’s got interesting possibilities to me, but before too long she’s unwittingly involved in superheroics again and I’ve just lost interest. The artwork is charming, and there’s a lot to like here if you go for stories about people who are preternaturally strong or can shrink or whatever, and the protagonist is a likeable, interesting character, but the action is just not something I’m overly engaged with, sorry.

The Complete Multiple Warheads (Graham, Image)* – I really like Brandon Graham’s artwork and style, and I loved King City, so I went ahead and grabbed this collection. I enjoyed it a lot. It was a lot of fun, the artwork absolutely delighted me (I was glad to be reading it digitally so I could zoom in on the detail), and even the non-stop puns didn’t bug me. There’s not a lot of plot or characterization, so the fact that one of the characters is named “Sexica” isn’t a problem. It’s all about the details, and the book is crammed full of them.

D4VE (Ferrier/Ramon, Monkeybrain)* – I wanted to try this out since the idea behind it — a world populated by robots acting like humans — appeals to me. Unfortunately it just didn’t do anything for me. It was a lot of “here’s what’s going on” and “here’s what the deal is with what you just saw” as though the book doesn’t trust me to get it. On page 2 a robot comes into D4VE’s office and yells at him for recharging on the job and tells him “nothing you’re doing is good”. The narration tells me: “That’s FR4NK, my boss. Real hard-ass.” Thanks, comic book! I was having trouble sussing that out! Then six pages telling you the story behind the world and D4VE himself. After that, I just didn’t know what more there was to have happen except watch everything I was just told unspool into more panels. Bleah.

So hey, that’s not a whole lot fewer this month. I really thought I’d read much less.

* – I read this digitally, either as purchased PDFs or through Comixology.

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